Music: Death Grips

Executors of that next shit
Nest eye to the left shit
That melt your face
Til your bloody neck get ripped headless
Death Grips
"Death Grips (Next Grips)"

Formed in December of 2010, Death Grips was (is?) an Alternative Hip Hop group that consisted of rapper Stefan Burnett (a.k.a. MC Ride), drummer Zach Hill (of the band Hella), and producer Andy Morin. Their music was a unique and hyper-aggressive blend of noise, samples, noise and industrial, loud vocals, noise, and subverting and deconstructing almost every Hip Hop trope under the sun, while their live shows are infamous for their sheer, nightmarish ferocity.

On October 1st 2012, the band revealed that their next release had been pushed back by their record label. In response, the band went and released NO LOVE DEEP WEB for free. They released their next album, Government Plates, in a similar fashion. In July 2014, the band announced that they were breaking up via their Facebook page. However, they have put out material sincenote , causing fans to question whether the band had truly ended.

Their discography is as follows:

  • Death Grips (EP), 2011
  • Exmilitary (mixtape), 2011
  • The Money Store, 2012
  • NO LOVE DEEP WEB, 2013, leaked by the band on October 1st, 2012
  • Government Plates, 2013
  • Fashion Week, 2015
  • The Powers That B, a double album to be released in March of 2015
    • Niggas on the Moon, the first disc, released in June of 2014
    • Jenny Death, the second disc, to be released in March of 2015

Death Grips' music contains the following tropes:

  • Ascended Meme: The phrase "JENNY DEATH WHEN" became something of a meme, being used frequently as a burning question asked by Death Grips fans. On the album Fashion Week, all of the tracks' letters spell that phrase.
  • Astral Finale: "Artificial Death in the West" acts somewhat like this (it is the last track on NO LOVE DEEP WEB), with its spacey synth-based sound.
  • Ax-Crazy: MC Ride in most songs.
  • Arc Number: Three and thirteen.
    • Government Plates appears to avert this though, as it is the first official release by them to not have thirteen tracks on it. Until you realize it was released 13 months, 13 days, and 13 hours after NO LOVE DEEP WEB.
    • Averted by Fashion Week. Justified, since the tracks' letters come together to spell "JENNY DEATH WHEN", which is fourteen letters long.
    • Both Niggas On the Moon and Jenny Death averted this.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Zach Hill's playing has been known to break lug casings and bend the top hoop of his drums. He's fractured his own hand in a rehearsal once.
    • Rehearsal footage used in the video for "No Love" shows him viciously playing the drums with his hands and headbutting his crash cymbal.
  • Angry Black Man: MC Ride, so much.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The whole band seems to be this, based on interviews.
  • Badass Baritone: Ride, when he isn't screaming.
  • Badass Beard: Again, Ride.
  • Boastful Rap: Oh so many.
  • Call Back: "Takyon" and "I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)"note  on the debut EP would later become part of the Exmilitary track list.
  • Camera Abuse: In the "Hustle Bones" video, we see an open bottle of milk tossed into a dryer. When the dryer starts working, the bottle and milk go flying every which way, including the camera lens.
  • Careful With That Axe: MC Ride, all the time.
    • "Full Moon (Death Classic)" is probably the most heinous example.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The whole band, or at least whoever's in charge of their internet presence.
  • Contemptible Cover: The Money Store, to the point of Memetic Mutation.
    • The cover for NO LOVE DEEP WEB takes this Up to Eleven.
      • For those who have a Bile Fascination, it's a picture of the erect penis of Zach Hill in front of a bathroom wall with the album title written on it in marker.
      • Even the "clean" NLDW cover (a picture of a pair of socks with "SUCK MY DICK" embroided on them) still fits here.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Provides a backing beat throughout "Double Helix".
  • Darker and Edgier: NO LOVE DEEP WEB (somehow) manages to be this despite the band already having some of the darkest output of any rap group.
  • Dream Team: Bjrk teamed up with them and contributed heavily to The Powers That B.
  • Drone of Dread: Frequently used in the instrumentals, notably in "Guillotine" and much of NO LOVE DEEP WEB.
  • Epic Rocking: "Beware", "I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)", "No Love", "Artificial Death in the West", "Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)", "Up My Sleeves", and "Inanimate Sensation" are all over 5 minutes.
  • Establishing Character Moment: "Full Moon (Death Classic)" was the first song they ever dropped, and it pretty much sums up what the internet was in for.
  • Exorcist Head: Referenced in "Guillotine".
    The screens flashing red, can't see shit but heads
    Spinning exorcist like planets
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Especially in the sense that their beats are sample-based and often take instrumentation straight from those samples.
  • Follow the Leader: They've already started what is essentially a new genre, or at least a new concept of combining noise and harsh noise with hip hop.
    • Lo and behold, people were quick to draw similarities to Death Grips in Kanye West's album Yeezus.
  • Genre-Busting: Good luck finding anything remotely similar... Yet....
    • B L A C K I E, dlek and clipping. take similarly extreme and experimental approaches to hip-hop, but none sound quite the same—or quite like each other.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The music video for "Culture Shock" is a tiny distorted videoscreen superimposed over a headstone, looping repeatedly. It's hard to see, but the footage on the screen is from a pornographic sex scene.
  • Harsh Vocals: One of the very few rap examples.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used as the backing beat for "Blackjack".
  • Homage: The infamous cover of No Love Deep Web is both this and a Shout-Out to a Black Flag poster featuring a penis on it, right down to the angle of the . . . shaft.
  • Idiosyncratic Song Naming: The tracks on Fashion Week all share a naming theme: the word "Runway", and then a letter. As the track listing shows, all of the letters spell "JENNY DEATH WHEN".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Nay nay, Ride, we don't know what you're sayin'.
  • Instrumental: Fashion Week is a completely instrumental album.
    • "Cut Throat" off of Exmilitary.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: "Guillotine" pronounces its title as "gill-uh-teen", even though it's really "gee-yuh-teen", for the purpose of flowing better.
  • Lennon Specs: Andy usually has these.
  • Long Title: "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat", which is often abbreviated simply as "You Might Think".
  • Loudness War: Done on purpose, though not in a negative fashion. Exmilitary brings it to the point of Sensory Abuse.
    • Fortunately though, an unmastered version of The Money Store exists on the web and isn't hard to come by, and it avoids the brickwalling of the released versions. All the stems of Exmilitary also exist on the web, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone with the right programs to make their own master that isn't so abrasively loud.
  • Lucky Charms Title: No Love Deep Web is sometimes stylized as N LV∑ D∑∑P W∏B.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: MC Ride, in spite of his manic, frenzied onstage performances and ferocious vocal style, is exceptionally quiet, withdrawn, and soft-spoken in person.
  • Mind Screw: A lot of their music videos and promotional work are heavily reminiscent of totheark's strange diatribes.
  • Minimalism: "Hunger Games" uses this to an unsettling effect.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "5d" and "Cut Throat", both off of Exmilitary.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Usually in the 7-10 range, with "Birds" falling back to a 4. "Full Moon (Death Classic)" may as well be a borderline 11.
  • Motive Rant: "Beware" can be considered one, as Ride lays bare his incredibly individualistic and nihilistic philosophy in it.
  • Murder Ballad:
    • "Takyon", which appears to be about a gunfight.
    • "Guillotine" mixes Boastful Rap and this.
  • New Sound Album: While they still fall under the umbrella of industrial hip-hop, each of their albums is this compared to the previous one. Exmilitary was a lot more hook- and beat-driven than their debut EP. The Money Store was considerably more electronic and less sample-based than Exmilitary, and NO LOVE DEEP WEB eschews catchy hooks in general in exchange for a deeper focus on atmosphere. Government Plates took this to a new level, with a much larger emphasis on experimental electronic production and much less rapping from MC Ride. And then Ride returned in a big way for Niggas on the Moon, which in general features more frenetic production, cleaner, quieter, yet far more absurd verses from Ride, and samples from Bjrk on every track.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The video for "Come Up And Get Me" features roughly nine minutes of silence at the beginning set to black & white footage of MC Ride going crazy.
    • The instrumental for "Hunger Games" uses this.
    • Andy's website, ever since he's been missing, usually consists of a single cryptic phrase or image at a time, occasionally with hidden images in the code or whatever the ARG calls for.
    • The video for "Death Yon" has a masked individual cautiously exploring an abandoned office.
  • Not Quite Dead: According to some, Death Grips never really disbanded. Made doubly confusing due to their cryptic natures.
  • Number of the Beast: The opening line on "Takyon" is "triple six, five, forked tongue".
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: Parts of "No Love" and "Spread Eagle Cross The Block".
  • Odd Friendship: With Robert Pattinson. He's been photographed hanging out with Ride on several occasions and is apparently a huge fan.
    • Apparently, Pattinson was one behind the guitar riff of "Birds".
  • Performance Video: "The Fever" and "No Love".
    • "Guillotine" and "Hustle Bones" have only Ride performing the song.
    • "Lock Your Doors" is their, uh... interpretation of one.....
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ride. He's subverted this on one occasion in the video for "You Might Think" and boy it's creepy as hell.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: MC Ride has a tattoo of a pentagram.
  • Sampling: From Nancy Sinatra to Black Flag to Link Wray to Arthur Brown's "Fire" to voice clips of Charles Manson. "System Blower" even sampled its distinctive bridge from a Venus Williams tennis serve, and the bass from "Hustle Bones" is a motorcycle engine, pitched down and otherwise modulated.
  • Scary Black Man: MC Ride, and how.
  • Scenery Gorn: The video to "Inanimate Sensation."
  • Sensory Abuse: Sometimes, mostly on Exmilitary, which is probably the loudest of their releases. The odd, screechy synth section towards the end of "Guillotine" stands out. Most of their videos have intentional glitches and spaced-out effects, such as visual static.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The song title "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" is of course a Bob Dylan lyric.
    • "Hunger Games" kind of goes without saying.
    • See Exorcist Head above.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: A rare rap example—if you heard Stefan speak, you'd never believe he was MC Ride.
  • Slasher Smile: The video for "You Might Think" consists solely of Ride close up to the camera doing these.
  • Something Completely Different: The song "Birds" is weird, even for their standards. Partially because it's probably the least abrasive song they've ever made.
  • Soprano and Gravel: On the track "Lord Of The Game", featuring Mexican Girl.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Andy.
  • Stylistic Suck: Their songs are intentionally brickwalled and compressed to a brutal degree, and their videos are about as close to a live-action Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff as you can get. Take the videos for "Guillotine", "The Fever (Aye Aye)", and "Takyon", for example.
    • This applies to the visuals for Government Plates. A music video was made for each song, and most of them include rotating 3D art looping over and over on a black background.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: For a given value of "gentle"; "Culture Shock" and "Get Got" are fairly chill and closer to traditional hip-hop than the rest of their output.
    • At the end of NO LOVE DEEP WEB comes "Artificial Death in the West", a very spacious and chilled out song after the twelve tracks of madness.
    • "Birds" off of Government Plates, a very quiet and subtle song based around a sole guitar riff and meager, chopped up vocals from Ride.
  • Surreal Music Video: All of them.
  • Take That: In "Hacker":
  • Textless Album Cover: Fashion Week.
    • The Money Store, if the "DEATH GRIPS" carved onto the masochist's chest doesn't count.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: NO LOVE DEEP WEB is kind of like their version of this. The majority of the sounds are produced from basic synthesizers and 808 drums, and the only samples are on "Whammy" and "Deep Web." Hill has, for the most part, traded his drumkit in for some electronic drumpads.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Applies to the band's discography as a whole, but really gets explored on Exmilitary.
  • Title Scream: The chorus of "Takyon". Good grief.
    • "Spread Eagle Cross the Block" starts with Ride shouting the song title three times.
  • Title Track: No Love Deep Web and Government Plates both have one. Well, the former is a bit unique, in the sense that there are two tracks named "No Love" and "Deep Web".
  • Trope Codifier: Industrial rap. While groups like The Disposible Heroes of Hiphoprisy had been combining industrial elements with rap and hip-hop since as far back as the late 1980s, Death Grips' sound has come to define the style since their inception.
  • Uncommon Time: "Death Grips (Next Grips)" and "Spread Eagle Cross The Block".
    • "Hunger Games" is a subversion. It's in 4/4 time, but the rhythm is... uh.... batshit insane...
    • Death Grips don't generally use a lot of strange time signatures, but they do use extensive syncopation and other strange musical features.
      • The main riff of 'Come Up and Get Me' gets insanely syncopated around the middle before abruptly coming back at the end.
      • 'Full Moon (Death Classic)' is crazily offbeat, having some parts where Ride ignores the rhythm entirely (i.e. the 'buck buck buck buck' bit).
      • The first verse and last hook of 'You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat' both seem to kind of ignore the rhythm behind them. (Additionally, it's in 6/8.)
      • The notes that the guitar plays in the verses and choruses in 'Birds' are of incredibly uneven and unnatural lengths. Same with the synths in the second section of 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)'.
      • Ride's sampled vocals on 'Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)' are weirdly syncopated.
      • 'Anne Bonny', 'Two Heavens', 'Feels Like A Wheel', 'Big House', and 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)' all include abrupt tempo changes at some point in their duration.
  • Up to Eleven: To the point where anything below 11 is highly out of the blue. As Anthony Fantano stated, when it comes to them, "everything becomes extreme."
  • Vulgar Humor: The leaked version of NO LOVE DEEP WEB features cover art that is nothing more than a photograph of a penis. An alternate cover, released a few days later, is a picture of socks with "SUCK MY DICK" embroided on.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Ride, more often than not.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Andy Morin was missing from October 2012 until SXSW 2013, and it has yet to be addressed or explained.
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Not too extreme, but still fits here; "Takyon" is most likely derived from a tachyon, a hypothetical particle that travels faster than light.